Monthly Archives: May 2012

Randomness from Yahoo! Answers, part 3

To let people know that I’m here and still blogging, I have taken on the top three results from Yahoo! Answers on the search phrase “Does God exist?”  The third question, from user Iason Ouabache, “How does the fact that I exist prove that there is a God?”

In another question someone said “the fact that you exist proves that there is a God”. And then he called me silly. How does my existence prove that God exists? And how does this prove that the specific Christian god exists? Doesn’t my existence just prove that I exist?

Right, Iason, the fact that you exist proves only that you exist.  However, it raises the question of why you exist.

Think of reality as a box that contains us.  We can’t see beyond the borders of the box.  We can only see what’s inside the box.  However, outside the box is a whole world of possibilities that we can’t see with our eyes, but can perceive with our mind by looking at what we see in the box.

We can know what is outside the box by looking at what is inside the box.

Put another way, we are imprisoned in Plato’s Cave.  We are chained, looking at a cold, gray wall that has dancing shadows on it.  We can figure out a lot about the shadows, and a little bit about what causes the shadows, by studying the shadows.

Now let’s say that someone breaks his chains and is able to walk outside Plato’s Cave.  Suddenly, he sees for himself the majesty of reality.  He sees what was causing the shadows on the wall, those imperfect copies of reality, as reality.  His first instinct is to go back in the cave and free as many people as possible.

Alas, most people are content to stare at the wall.

I call those people “naturalists.”  They don’t think anything is casting the shadows; they think that the shadows are all that exist.

Naturalists are only looking inside that box we talked about earlier.  They do not consider that which we cannot prove — the elements outside the box that are hinted (copied or shadowed) by items we find in the box.  They don’t even think that these “shadows” hint at anything.

Surmising what is outside the box by looking at what is inside the box is the branch of philosophy known as metaphysicsOur thoughts on metaphysics shape our thoughts on the natural world.

You, as a human being, and your inherent worth and intricate design flow from God.  You are not evidence of God, but you are a hint that he is there — one hint among many in the created world.

What happens without God?  Since our metaphysics shape our thoughts of the natural world, the thoughts of the theist differ wildly from the thoughts of the atheist.  And, I might add, the thoughts of the atheist (though perfectly logical based on his metaphysics, or lack thereof) are outright disturbing.

  1. The notion of “inherent worth as a human being” is tossed out the window.  We are one animal among many, we just so happen to be smart and self-aware.  But, there’s no reason that we shouldn’t behave as animals.  Sexuality, therefore, shouldn’t be a slave to morality.  The animals have sex with whomever they want, whenever they want.
  2. Building on the first, morality itself is invalid.  Morality is a universal idea, abstract in nature, and that would exist outside the box.  Nothing exists outside the box.  All we have are particulars — the ever-changing ethics of various societies.  When the theist refers to rape or torture or abortion as issues of morality, that’s nonsense.  There are no morals, for nothing exists outside the box.  Therefore, any of those things (yes, even rape) could be considered ethically valid in the right circumstances.  [Don’t believe me?  Peter Singer justifies cold-blooded murder here.]
  3. The idea of design becomes ludicrous.  If there were a designer, there would be no design flaws like an appendix or a tail bone or a hanging scrotum that incapacitates the person kicked in it.  Offensive body odor?  Gone.  Hair and toenails?  Not necessary.  These “flaws” are not viewed as the best possible trade-offs, rather as evidence of evolution by natural selection.

So, what are we to do here?  As Schaeffer pointed out, nothing finite is of value without an infinite reference point.  We are finite, and therefore have no inherent worth or value unless we have something infinite to point at.  That means starting with God is the only valid starting point.  Starting with naturalism in the absence of God leads to chaos and immorality.

Randomness from Yahoo! Answers, part 2

To show people that I’m still here and blogging, I have decided to examine the top three results from the search phrase, “Does God exist?” on Yahoo! Answers.  The second question, from user Justin James, asks “Is it safe to make the assumption that God does not exist?”

Science does not prove that God exist, nor do they disprove existence of God either. However what science does is show that God is unnecessary for these processes to occur within our world seeing that the Universe is governed by Natural laws. Science does not have a “thing” against God, but rather Science acknowledges compelling evidence for the non-existence of God. Thus is it safe to make a conclusion that since God is unnecessary for the universe as we know it to exist, we can assume that God does not exist at all?

Let’s break this down:

  1. Science does not prove God exists
  2. Science does not disprove God exists
  3. Science shows God is unnecessary for natural processes because the universe is governed by natural laws

You are correct until #3.

The laws act within the universe, so long as there is a universe for them to act on from the inside.  However, the universe — if it began to exist, and we believe that it did — would have an external cause.  That external cause cannot simply be those natural laws for those only act on things already inside the universe.  The universe would have to be eternal for this to work.

So it is not safe to assume that there is no God.  The universe still had to come from somewhere, and could not simply have been ordered by the forces that exist within it any more than a piece of music wrote itself by putting the notes in the right place using the rules of time, rhythm, melody/harmony, and selecting its own major key.  Those rules, rather, were used by a composer to arrange the music in a fashion that would be pleasing to the ear.

It is not the scope of this post to answer the question of Who Designed the Universe?; rather, the purpose is to point out that natural laws and such forces are inadequate for they only explain how the components of the universe interact when they already exist.

It merely defers or delays the question of Who.  It does not answer it.

Randomness from Yahoo! Answers, part 1

I haven’t blogged in a while.  A long while.

I don’t want people to think that I shut the blog down.  Nope.  I just had a baby, and have been working long hours on top of trying to have a family life.  So my blogging life has been put on hold for the last month or so.

So today, with my free time and in honor of a person who has e-mailed me several times about Yahoo! Answers, I have decided to take on the top three results for the search phrase “Does God exist?”

First question, “How, or in what way does God exist?” asked by a user named Bolo Joe two years ago:

I think the question should no longer be “Does God exist?”, but instead “How, or in what way does God exist?” In my opinion, the discrepancy surrounding God has more to do with concepts and interpretations than the actual existence of God.

This is interesting, and I think worthy of a quick comment.  It has been a tactic of atheists that have engaged me in dialogue to shift the goal posts in this fashion.

When I have them at a stalemate — they can no longer contend based on my sound objections that God’s existence is impossible — they shift the question from absolute existence to one of semantics.

This essentially means they lose the debate.  Their original contention is that God does not exist, but once they stop contending that and start asking why to suppose my particular God over all of the others from mythology then they have conceded there is a God and are now just asking which.

So far, I agree with Mr. Joe.  The question of which God is the key, for the actual existence of God is, in my mind, a foregone conclusion in favor of yes.

For example: Referring to God as “He” is a big problem. He is gender specific and references half of a whole, with the complement of course being “She”. Male and female should be viewed as positive and negative expressions of the living being as positive and negative charges are expressions of electricity.

This is where the semantics are coming into play.

“God” can refer to one of two things:

  1. The shared ontology of the three persons of the Holy Trinity
  2. The First Person, the Creator of Genesis and the Father of Christ in the Gospels

In using God to refer to (1), I would agree that “he” or “she” are meaningless concepts.  However, in English, there is no gender-neutral pronoun that can refer to a living person.  “It” is insulting, especially to God.

The essence shared by the persons of the Trinity is neither male nor female, but somehow both.  This is suggested in Genesis when both genders are required, but for different roles in the marriage.  The male-female marriage is therefore the divine institution given to us by God, and all others (polygamy, polyamory, homosexual) are perversions of it.

I doubt this seeker would realize he just stumbled into that position or endorse such a conclusion; the New Age-y people are typically liberal and thus in favor of gay marriage.

The male pronoun is used as convenience.  Up until the flood of political correctness that has gripped America, “he” was always used as a generic pronoun when the sex was unknown, meaningless, or unable to be determined.  It is only in the last 20 years or so that that has become a slight to women.

In using God in (2), the male pronoun is the preferred method of address, and not just because the Bible says so.  But because of the way the Bible says:

  1. Jesus repeatedly calls the First Person of the Trinity “Father”
  2. Paul repeatedly uses marriage as a metaphor for salvation, and the church repeatedly takes the role of the woman (the “Bride of Christ”)
  3. Church leaders and elders are supposed to be male (the husband of one wife)
  4. After the Fall, the man was supposed to take the lead and the woman follow, subjecting her desires to the man

Given all of that, it is clear God sees himself in the male role of a complementarian view of gender relations.  He is neither male nor female, for both are made in the image of God.  But his role is male and therefore the mode of address should remain male.

I say this to illustrate that God can be neither a “He” nor “She” as these two individually are incomplete. That’s the beauty of a healthy relationship between a man and a woman, in which case God is revealed. From this idea comes the concept of Twin Flame soul mates.

Again, as I stated above, this is the strongest argument for heterosexual marriage being the divine institution and homosexual marriage being nothing more than a perversion of it.

All of the physical world, as we know it, is divided into these complementary halves: Up down, back front, light dark, good bad, etc… It is through experiencing these extremes that we find the balance to perceive the whole, or the essential design and this essential design is what I believe to be the expression of G.O.D. (The Grand Organizing Design). Comments…???

Well, I don’t see God as merely a Grand Organizing Design, but a person.  I’m not sure how to complete any sort of analysis of this meandering question, so let’s just move forward with the next one tomorrow…

The Duty to Understand Why You Believe

I suspect that most of the individuals who have religious faith are content with blind faith. They feel no obligation to understand what they believe. They may even wish not to have their beliefs disturbed by thought. But if God in whom they believe created them with intellectual and rational powers, that imposes upon them the duty to try to understand the creed of their religion. Not to do so is to verge on superstition.

— Mortimer Adler

The REAL Christian Delusion

[Christians] need to wake up from the illusion that the America we now live in – not the America of our nostalgia or imagination or best ideals, but the real America we live in here and now – is somehow friendly to our faith. What we’re watching emerge in this country is a new kind of paganism, an atheism with air-conditioning and digital TV. And it is neither tolerant nor morally neutral.

— Archbishop Charles Chaput